Nova workboard

a blog from young economists at Nova SBE

Poverty: between child exploitation and child illeteracy

Filippo Galli


Every year six million children under five starve to death or die of curable illnesses such as dysentery, pneumonia or malaria. FAO reports that malnutrition – still 143 million children in the developing Countries suffer it – causes almost half of about five millions of deaths reported in the world every year among children under five.

Child exploitation is a cause and consequence of poverty and grows when people must face without any help its poverty without free schools and health, and families are compelled to ask  each of its members to work to survive. As far as this situation is concerned, an Unicef research in Latin America points out how the purchasing power of the family increases of 10-20% maximum with the works of little children: poverty still remains.

 Child exploitation in the working places involves 218 million children (default estimation, as we talk about illicit situations) who are obliged to work deprived of education, health and play: 126 million of them carry on dangerous activities risking their lives.

One child among five, for example, has no free admittance to drinkable water; this causes the death of 2,5 millions of children every year. 143 millions of children suffer from malnutrition ,which is the cause of the 40% of the total infant mortality.  

Another important problem is the plague of the child soldiers and the prostitution: over 250.000 children under 15 are recruited and used in the state armed forces and in non-state armed groups (in the Democratic Republic of Congo at present about 11.000 children have been kidnapped by the guerrillas), and one million of children every are led to prostitution, often by their parents themselves to pay their debts.

Unicef is trying to solve the present situation with two kinds of interventions: programs to sustain the domestic household to make the children’s work unnecessary and intervention in favour of children workers to grant them the possibility to attend school and to get an education.

Another problem for children is the illiteracy. Over 130 million of children of age of primary school grow up, in the developing Countries, without any chance to get  basic education. If we add to this number the other 20 millions of children that do not complete the four years of school (minimum period to grant a minimum ‘learned’ child), we obtain a total of 150 millions. Moreover 77 millions of boys and girls in the South of the world cannot write or read. The greater part of these are girls, condemned to an uncertain future. The 57% of girls of age of primary school are deprived of education due to cultural, economic, and  discrimination reasons.

However Child labour and children illiteracy  are only two of the several problems that children are compelled to face, and they are only two of the several problems concerning poverty, that everyone in the world should try to face and solve.

Author: studentnovasbe

Master student in Nova Sbe

Comments are closed.